Disorderly Conduct and Public Intoxication

Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “What am I obligated to do if I’ve been pulled for Drinking and Driving?”


Disorderly conduct and public intoxication are actions that when combined may result in criminal charges. Disruptive behaviors along with intoxication may also result in criminal charges. Although you may often hear about public intoxication, it is not a crime to be drunk in public unless there are accompanying behaviors that are disruptive. North Carolina law provides for a number of acts that are disruptive. These include blocking traffic, blocking a sidewalk, starting a fight, cursing at or insulting someone, and begging. If you are charged with a disorderly conduct type of charge, it can come with significant penalties and a conviction will give you a criminal record. It is best to seek legal assistance from a reputable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.


drunk-sleeping-Charlotte-Monroe-Mooresville-Criminal-Defense-Lawyer-300x203What is a Charge of ‘Intoxicated and Disruptive’?


A charge of intoxicated and disruptive is typically a misdemeanor. If convicted, you may have penalties that could include jail time, fines, probation, community service, and more. Although you may not receive a jail sentence, the charges are still serious and remain on your record. A permanent criminal record could prevent you from getting employment, from renting an apartment, or from attending college. Therefore, you should take these charges seriously and fight them vigorously to protect your rights.


If you suffer from alcohol use disorder, you may be able to provide that as a legal defense to a crime of intoxication. However, it is important to note that if you admit to alcoholism, the judge will likely sentence you to attend alcohol education and rehabilitation. You may also be ordered to a mandatory 15-day hold in a facility where you will undergo a psychiatric exam. The court will review the evaluation and determine your sentence.


Resolving Charges of Disorderly Conduct


While it may seem to be the easiest option to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges, it may not always be the best resolution. Disorderly charges often accompany other misdemeanor or felony charges such as assault. In some instances, your attorney will be able to negotiate a plea deal or other arrangement with the prosecutor. For instance, a more serious charge such as assault might be reduced to disorderly charges if you accept a guilty plea. In these situations, it is best to discuss the matter with your attorney before you decide whether to accept a plea deal.


Some things to consider when you decide whether or not to take a plea deal include the potential sentence of the charges and the long-term impact it could have on your life. If the prosecutor does not have ample evidence to prove the charges, the state may decide not to continue with charges or might take the matter to trial. When you are arrested on charges, contact your attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will immediately review the situation and will provide you with some legal guidance so you can make decisions that are in your best interest. Disorderly charges, although not necessarily felonies, are still matters that require your serious review. A skilled criminal defense attorney will assist you throughout the legal process and help you attain the results that best fit your expectations. Please contact us today to get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.







The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.







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